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Poetry Pleases: The Delta Made A Preacher Out Of Me

In telling his father's story in this true-life poem Lawson Anderson says enough to fill a book about life in a Delta town, USA, forty-three years ago.

Delta town 1963 you had to be a good ole boy to succeed
Delta town 1963 you know it was crooked as could be

Told my Mama that's not the way it's supposed to be
Packed up my kids and headed off to seminary
Delta town made a preacher outta me

Worked at the bank as a low-wage VP
Poor blacks mortgaged more than they should be
Mr Big said we have to take their mule and cups for tea

Told my Mama that's not the way it's supposed to be
Packed up my kids and headed off to seminary
Banking made a preacher out of me

Election judge down in Precinct B said "We're 10 votes shy don't you see?"
Called the jail to send 10 prisoners from Cell Block 3
Pay their poll tax, give 'em cheap whiskey
That's the formula for victory.

Told my Mama that's not the way it's supposed to be
Packed up my kids and headed off to seminary
Delta town made a preacher outta me

County Judge ran his budget by us J.P.'s
He'd be skimming off the top was plain to see
Hard to stop him 'cause he'd call the Gov and say "I need more J.P.'s
300 townships in this county and you know they all need their own J.P.
"Here's a list to choose your new appointees"
Put on my coat and headed for the door
Sat back down when I realized that's what he was hoping for

Told my Mama that's not the way it's supposed to be
Packed up my kids and headed off to seminary
Delta town made a preacher outta me

Separate restroom when you need to pee
Separate fountain when you're feelin' thirsty
Your color, it's not like me..won't you take a seat in the movie balcony?

Told my Mama that's not the way it's supposed to be
Packed up my kids and headed off to seminary
Delta town made a preacher outta me
Delta town 1963....

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